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Michelle L.

NZBF Reaction to Honey

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Hi all, 

 

I had some friends come over in the weekend and they were very excited to try some of the honey I had recently extracted from my hives. Myself and partner as well as a beekeeper friend and his children who helped me extract it had tried it with no problems. 

However when my friend and his child tried it yesterday they both reacted to it. His 5year old boy threw up about 5mins after eating a teaspoonful and his Dad had a reaction which was like heart burn with numbness in fingers and legs, about half a teaspoon.  We called an ambulance as I wasn't taking any chances, he recovered fully while they were here and his son had no further trouble. My friend thinks its most likely a reaction to the pollen in the honey as he gets quite bad hayfever from pollen. 

I felt terrible that this happened and was wanting to use this honey as wedding favours/gifts for our wedding later this year....now I'm very unsure. 

 

I'm wondering if the honey would be safer pasteurized? Should I get it tested? 

My friend usually eats store bought honey, and doesn't have any trouble. Does anyone know if or what the process is that potentially makes store bought honey milder/safer. 

 

Thanks I welcome any advice, 

Michelle. 

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2 minutes ago, Michelle L. said:

Hi all, 

 

I had some friends come over in the weekend and they were very excited to try some of the honey I had recently extracted from my hives. Myself and partner as well as a beekeeper friend and his children who helped me extract it had tried it with no problems. 

However when my friend and his child tried it yesterday they both reacted to it. His 5year old boy threw up about 5mins after eating a teaspoonful and his Dad had a reaction which was like heart burn with numbness in fingers and legs, about half a teaspoon.  We called an ambulance as I wasn't taking any chances, he recovered fully while they were here and his son had no further trouble. My friend thinks its most likely a reaction to the pollen in the honey as he gets quite bad hayfever from pollen. 

I felt terrible that this happened and was wanting to use this honey as wedding favours/gifts for our wedding later this year....now I'm very unsure. 

 

I'm wondering if the honey would be safer pasteurized? Should I get it tested? 

My friend usually eats store bought honey, and doesn't have any trouble. Does anyone know if or what the process is that potentially makes store bought honey milder/safer. 

 

Thanks I welcome any advice, 

Michelle. 

That must be very worrying.

Since you are in Christchurch it's not tutin.

Is their a cheap way of getting it tested 

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Hmmm, this reaction sounds as if it could be non-physical ...

 

Edited by tudor

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25 minutes ago, tudor said:

Hmmm, this reaction sounds as if it could be non-physical ...

 

What does that mean for us non medical people.

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Pasteurising won't make any difference. I would strongly suspect tutu poisoning and see no reason why there wouldn't be passion vine hoppers especially in the warmer parts of Christchurch. Another possibility is rhododendron honey. If there is a lot of rhododendrons near your hives that could be a possibility. It is very easy and (relatively) cheap to get your honey tested for tutu. Don't know if there is a test for rhododendron. If in doubt you could approach MPI who should arrange to get your honey tested for you. On the other hand your two visitors may have eaten a dodgy chicken pie on the way to your place which is probably the most likely scenario.

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Ok thanks everyone for your advice and feedback. I'll get it tested. Its strange that I've had no reaction. My partner and I had a fair amount of it on toast. I'll also contact some of the commercial honey processors in my area to get their thoughts. I'll report back when I have done so to share my findings. 

Also when I googled reaction to Honey it did say raw honey can have more pollen, possibly it was a reaction to higher pollen in the honey. 

Thanks again, 

Michelle. 

Edited by Michelle L.
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how was it extracted, and how has it since been stored?

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1 hour ago, tommy dave said:

how was it extracted, and how has it since been stored?

Hi tommy dave, 

It was extracted about 2 weeks after I harvested it. 10 frames, 7 off one hive and 3 off the one right beside it. I stored the box inside in a cool room, then took it to a friend's place who had a 4 frame extractor in their garage. We used an electric hot knife to uncap and then spun into brand new food grade buckets through a double sieve. Has since been stored in my laundry in these buckets. 

Its odd that my partner and I along with others have eaten it with no trouble and even on the day out of the 4 of us 2 reacted to it. 

 

Does anyone know what the commercial process is for processing honey, its heated to what temperature? Does it go through a finer sieve to take out any pollen particles? 

 

Most of the frames were either fully capped or had a small amount of brood in the bottom centre. 

Edited by Michelle L.
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8 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

It actually sounds like tutin poisoning to me !

If it is a problem in Christchurch then that will change the rules for a lot of us .

Edited by kaihoka

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Does not sound like poisoning as the father recovered very quickly.

A description is:

http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/327545/Three-treated-for-suspected-toxic-honey-poisoning

but no confirmation of tutin toxicity.

 

Without any more information it is difficult to diagnose poisoning in the child, the father's reaction could be anxiety/hyperventilation.

 

And obeying the rules is very important.

 

 

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The stuff article was about people eating comb honey with a probable high content of Tutin, smaller doses of tutin in extracted honey would have different symptoms but I don’t know what they might be.

 

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hi not that it makes any difference to whats happened, but do you remove the brood, also were the hives in your section, if so have you any unusual or different types of plants, it may be some thing that you have become immune to and your visitors are not,  but i'am with frazz with this. will be interesting to see what the  results are.

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The most obvious reason for this is an allergic reaction.  If there was a toxin in the honey that was so fast acting, anyone else consuming the honey should have had a similar response.   Freshly extracted honey will contain some pollen.  People with pollen allergies can at times decrease their pollen sensitivity by  consuming small amounts of raw honey containing traces of local pollens on a daily basis.  Someone with severe pollen allergy may demonstrate an obvious or severe reaction to even small amounts of pollen in raw honey.  The fact that small amounts of pollen in honey can be helpful in reducing pollen allergy sensitivity - something that has been shown in the medical literature has to be contrasted with the opposite effect for a person with severe pollen allergy, even a small amount of raw honey can be too much!

 

For anyone trying the oral consumption of raw honey as a desensitizing treatment, my advice; start with a very small amount of local raw honey - less than a teaspoon.  If no reaction, after a few days, increase gradually the amount of honey consumed.  Back off immediately if a reaction occurs - tingling, numbness, problem breathing, etc.  If reaction is worrisome at all, get to a doctor immediately.    Watch for shortness of breath swelling of mouth or throat, heart beat irregularity, fainting - those can be life threatening in a matter of minutes.  Don't wait around to see if it gets better.

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Hi all, I've contacted my local honey extraction company and am going to have a chat with them tomorrow. Will get a test done for tutin. But I have to agree with beeresearch above. It makes no sense that some of us reacted and others not. My friend who reacted has had this happen with honey before. Just not to such a severe degree. He said that some cheeses can do it to him as well. My feeling is, its likely his son is sensitive in the same way as himself, just to a lesser degree. 

 

Will still be good to talk to the experts as well as a tutin test. 

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27 minutes ago, Michelle L. said:

My friend who reacted has had this happen with honey before. Just not to such a severe degree. He said that some cheeses can do it to him as well. 

 

 

 

Probably would have helped if you mentioned that in your first post :) 

Edited by frazzledfozzle
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11 hours ago, frazzledfozzle said:

 

Probably would have helped if you mentioned that in your first post :) 

Sorry, you're right, I should have. I just thought since it was raw, maybe there was something I could do that would make it more like store bought honey. Filter, heat etc. 

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